The car horns blared, tears streamed and scores of volunteers packed boxes of can foods, fruits, vegetables and other non-perishables at the Ram & Pechanga holiday food distribution on Dec. 22 in the SoFi Stadium park lot.
They began lining up before dawn and then slowly rolled through to begin what many said is the most difficult holiday season they ever had.
For three hours, hundreds were on the receiving end as Rams disc jockey DJ Mal-Ski played oldies and goodies from the likes of Luther Vandross and also solicited praise for the sponsors and scores of volunteers instrumental providing essential meals during a COVID pandemic that is beyond devastating.
“Well, it’s been a rough year. I lost my mom December 13, 2019 and nothing has been the same since. The pandemic, I’ve battled depression, my husband has not been able to bring in income now, so it been hard, “ said Rina Mohoney. “I haven’t really been doing anything for Christmas because I have underlying conditions, I am diabetic and I am asthmatic. I been in the house for almost 10 months, so being out in the fresh air and being with people that’s giving us back I really appreciate the Los Angeles Rams and Pechanga Casino.”
Another woman Jacqulyn Anderson said she still feels devastated from the effect of the pandemic.
“I appreciate everything they are doing up here. The food is greatly needed because everything is kind of shut down and grocery stores now are being a breeding ground for COVID, so if have to try to get it when you can.”
Anderson said that she got up early to arrive in line at 6:30 am. And was among the first to receive her boxes of food.
Stephanie Ebanks came from downtown Los Angeles to the event.
“I was laid off due to the virus and now I am kind of scrambling to make ends meet and this is really a blessing and an opportunity for me.”
Ebanks explained that the food will feed her three kids, but described the year 2020 as being really scary.
“I never though this was going to happen in a million years. I was working for the after-school program and I ‘m hurting and having a real hard time right now,” Ebanks told Inglewood Today.
She says that she lost her brother n law as a result of COVID.
She added that Christmas is going to be sad and quiet with just her and the kids because they are not going to be socializing, obeying the Los Angeles County mandated restrictions.
Stephanie Latkins was extremely emotional as I approached her vehicle.
“Personally, it’s hard. It’s hard. I never thought I would be here. My sister sent me the text that you guys would be out here today and I said you know what, I have a job, but things are still low because my hours were cut, so I got off work and came over and got in line,” stated Latkins. “I don’t feel any pride Pride has gone out the door. That happened back in March. Pride is gone right now. You just have to be here and get the help.”
For Latkins, Christmas will be a thankful and joyous day. “Thankful that we made it through. My family is healthy and mom is still here free of COVID and we are still blessed to be here.
The mobile food distribution was a partnership with Pechanga and the LA Regional Food Bank.
Approximately 2,500 families were accommodated with more than 135,000 meals.
Rams Cheerleaders, Rampage, front office staff and volunteers will help load meal kits in a socially distanced and safe manner. Each meal kit will include Don Lee frozen chicken, oranges, potatoes and a shelf stable kit.
The event was the third mobile food distribution hosted at SoFi Stadium during the 2020 NFL season in partnership with the LA Regional Food Bank. The previous two drives thru meal distributions at SoFi Stadium have served more than 4,800 families battling food insecurity in the LA region.